£800,000 bid to end Lancashire's bed blocking crisis

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust
Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust
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A consultancy firm is being recruited by Lancashire county council in an £800,000 bid to help solve the county’s bed-blocking crisis.

The new contract is currently up for tender. The successful bidders will assess the cause of delayed transfers of care from hospitals and create “designs for improvement” in parts of Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Royal Preston Hospital

Royal Preston Hospital

A report to county councillors revealed that there were 4,547 “lost days” last November when Lancashire patients who were ready for discharge had to stay in hospital.

Lancashire has above the national and regional average of delayed transfers.

The Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, which runs Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals, was the worst offender with delays of 2,201 days in November. The hospitals also accounted for nearly 60 per cent of social care delays affecting county patients that month.

Trust Chief Executive Karen Partington noted nevertheless a “significant improvement” in performance and said: “I would prefer not to focus on the figures, but on the future and how we move forward....We recognise these are not just numbers. They are people who want to be somewhere else.”

Today’s health scrutiny committee was advised both the Council and Teaching Trust are aware their “performance in both absolute and relative terms remained poor” and this had undermined both organisation’s reputations and public confidence.

Plans to provide more training and apprenticeship opportunities for care and medical staff were outlined.The council is also helping upgrade skills of some private care home managers.

The report noted delays at the Teaching Trust could be for reasons including family delays, challenges in NHS services, waiting for home care packages or for nursing and residential home places .

•Transfer of care packages are needed when a patient is well enough to leave hospital, but not fit enough to live at home unaided.